EPA's Lead Hazard Information Pamphlet
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NEW LEAD PAINT REGULATIONS

By Marvin Fleschman, CAPS
(c) 2000 - All rights Reserved

I. INTRODUCTION

On Sept 15th additional laws were passed to strengthen and expand the existing lead paint regulations that have been around since 1996. Until now, Title X, Sec 1018 held us to disclosure and dissemination of lead paint and lead paint hazards to the tenant or buyer of residential property. The new Sections 1012 and 1013 set standards that must be followed whenever paint in target housing is disturbed.

All workers and supervisors must now take special training in Lead-safe work practices from a HUD Trainer who has passed a HUD Designated course and been authorized to teach Lead-Safe Work Practices. All their work must be inspected by EPA certified inspectors. All major work areas must be dust-tested and passed by a laboratory BEFORE tenants are allowed to re-occupy. Along with all the changes to protect workers and tenants, owners and management must follow prescribed paperwork and documentation of notices and methodology.

On Sept 25 and 26th I attended a class in Phoenix that HUD was giving to explain the old and new laws and to teach what is now to be required of workers and management for compliance. I went to the class as an admittedly skeptical observer to report back to readers from a property owner's viewpoint. I came away with an appreciation that a real threat to the health of the tenants and workers may exist on some properties.

II. BACKGROUND INFORMATION

We can thank a half-century of uncaring, apathetic, and bought-off American politicians who allowed lead to be an ingredient of gasoline, toys, plumbing, and paint long after evidence was clear that it was a poison. We have ads from 1890s European newspapers and posters boasting that their paint is non-poisonous and free of lead.

At the same time, American ads were extolling the benefits of high lead-content in our paint: durable, holds color longer, resists mold and mildew, prevents corrosion, quicker drying.

In the 50s, regulations were finally put into effect to force the paint manufacturers to find alternate lead-free formulas for their paint, but the powers-that-be allowed the phase-out to be ever-so-gradual over the next 20 years. In 1978, all this baloney came to an end. Lead in residential paint was out and most other major contributors to lead in the atmosphere were well on their way to being lead-free.

What we are faced with today is several generations of buildings constructed before 1978 that have various amounts of lead on their walls, doors, cabinetry, floors, railings, fences, and in the soil.

Most people will find little to dispute with my account of history so far. In fairness, I want to acknowledge the view of some that the subject of lead danger is much ado about nothing. They are against any government involvement that makes us responsible to defend and care for everyone who sets foot on our property. I agree, but the point I want to make here is that whether we believe lead is a hazard or not, the law exists and we all have to live with it.

I am not writing this article to win over one side of the debate or the other. The purpose of this article is to help the average residential property owner understand the intent of the laws and how we are directed to conduct our business within its requirements---whether we like it or not. An honest statement with which we ALL can agree is every building built prior to 1978 COULD have lead paint on the property.

This POSSIBILITY is what has to be weighed in your decision of how serious to take these laws.

III. THE "REAL" REASON WHY THE RULINGS ARE SO IMPORTANT TO EVERYONE

Anyone who breaks into a wall for plumbing or electrical work or repairs damaged walls or other painted surfaces, has to think about the POSSIBILITY that he is scattering lead dust into the air to be breathed and ingested by people. Those people are not only the tenants and their children, but the worker and HIS FAMILY when he brings that dust home in his hair, on his clothes, shoes, face and hands.

And, if the above is a POSSIBILITY, the owner or management personnel of the building (sitting in their nice, clean office with their feet up on the desk) have to give thought to the POSSIBILITY of a phone call from the lawyer who is claiming his client got lead poisoning from that property.

Yes, I can take a couple of paragraphs to explain what fines the Feds have established to enforce this law at any property receiving federal money. But, whether you receive federal money or not, the Feds are amateurs/light-weights/little kiddies, compared with the righteous zeal of lawyers who will pounce on the owner of the building in which the child with lead poisoning is living.

All pre-1978 buildings must assume that lead paint is present on all surfaces and follow lead-safe work practices in order to receive federal money. Unless you are willing to go to the expense of a complete lead paint inspection by a licensed inspector who certifies that your building is lead-free, you MUST ASSUME there is lead present.

IV. WHO THE RULES IMMEDIATELY APPLY TO

Do you have Section 8 tenants with children under six years old? Is your loan federally guaranteed or insured? Was the housing built or rehabbed with federal assistance? The leverage the Feds are using to enforce their requirements is loss of their money. HUD should be concerned about a backlash from landlords who will stop accepting Section 8 tenants.

Some landlords mistakenly think that if the don't rent to Section 8 tenants, that they do not have to worry about the new regulations. Even though many of us are not tied to federal money, we are exposed to lawsuits if a tenant is diagnosed with lead poisoning. If our workers don't follow lead-safe practices and we don''t follow the notices and record-keeping they suggest, lawyers would use the lack of proper lead-safe practices against us in court.

V. WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP AVOID LAWSUITS

Following 1012 and 1013 lead-safe practices would help defend against a claim of negligence; and let's not overlook, COULD PREVENT A GENUINE CASE OF LEAD POISONING FROM HAPPENING.

The assumption of lead means: PRIOR to any work that disturbs more than 20 square feet (FT) of exterior surface, 2 SF of interior walls, or 10% of any single component (window, door, baseboard):

1) You must notify the tenant or tenants who are affected by the work. The notification is very specific and legally documented.

2) The workers MUST be trained in lead-safe work practices by a HUD Designated Lead-Safe Work Practices Trainer. Where the owner does his own maintenance, he CANNOT perform the work unless he has had the required training.

3) The area around the repair must be protected, prepared and finally cleaned up (following very specific requirements) in preparation for Final Clearance.

4) If the work area makes the apartment uninhabitable for the tenant, the owner may be responsible to relocate the family temporarily.

5) BEFORE the tenant or tenants are allowed to re-enter the work area, the area must be tested and cleared by a licensed tester and pass a laboratory clearance exam to document that lead-hazard is not present.

6) The tenant is then notified and given documentation that the job is complete and the area is lead-safe.

7) All records are to be kept at least 3 years.

Let me pause here and beg you---Please, please, don't hurt me, don't call me nasty names, don't squeeze my throat --- I saved you a trip to Phoenix and sat in class for two days. I'm only the messenger!!

In the past, I have written reports on protecting yourself from the minefield of potential lawsuits in this business. The articles have focused on various topics including Apartment Dogs, Liability Hazards, Fair Housing & Discrimination Guidelines, Child Care Liability, and Landlord vs. Tenant Rights? This report is just the newest straw that our camel must carry. Rental owners across the country are being fined. Don't let it happen to you. Unless your property has been certified lead free, all pre-1978 property MUST be ASSUMED to contain lead paint.

VI. TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES

Marvin Fleschman, the author of this report, is a HUD Designated Lead-Safe Work Practices Trainer. He will offer "one-day"classes for mrlandlord.com visitors nationwide in 2001 (beginning in Los Angeles in January). Who can benefit from these classes? All of the following. Owners, Managers, Management Companies, Maintenance Workers and Contractors. They are all REQUIRED by Title X, Sec 1012 & 1013 to receive lead hazard awareness training in a HUD approved course on the strict requirements of lead-safe work practices, legally required notices and documentation. As a landlord, understand that the federal mandate now requires you to take this class if you want to even work on your own property.

Take control of your circumstances. Protect your investment. Protect your tenants. You'll be able to sign-up for a HUD approved classes through mrlandlord.com. Full one-day classes are normally held on Saturdays. Attendees who complete the class and pass the test will receive HUD-sanctioned documentation that they are Trained in Lead Safe Work Practices. Call our office, 1-800-950-2250, if you would like more information about where and when classes will be offered or go to the following webpage - http://www.mrlandlord.com/mllshop/seminars.html.

 


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